May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. In 2021, 356 cases were
identified in Iowa. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted to humans through the bite
of infected blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks). Ticks are most likely to spread the
bacteria during their pre-adult stage (nymph). They are most common between May and July
and found in tall grasses and brush of wooded areas.
To protect yourself:
• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered insect repellents containing
DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-
undecanone. Always follow product instructions.
• Wear clothing treated with permethrin.
• Shower as soon as possible after spending time outdoors.
• Check for ticks daily. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair,
and in the groin.
• Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after
you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.
For more information on Lyme disease and case data in Iowa, visit: https://tracking.idph.iowa.gov/Health/Lyme-Disease